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Walmart Obtains Patent for Crypto-Powered Electrical Grid

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U.S. retail giant Walmart have obtained a patent for the development of an electrical network that will work with Bitcoin (BTC) or another digital currency, according to a patent application published on June 14th by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Cointelegraph reports.

The system is designed to help companies better manage energy consumption and regulate demand in an electrical network using a publicly distributed transaction book. Initially, Walmart had filed the patent in December 2017.

According to the patent, residential homes and large, multi-site organizations could use a blockchain or any other type of distributed ledger to create a chain of energy-consuming devices. Each device in the chain could be assigned an amount of Bitcoin – or any other cryptocurrency. The device can then use the stipulated amount of cryptocurrency to purchase energy from the utility provider over a given billing period, such as a month. The document further explains:

Each unit cryptocurrency may represent a unit or a portion of a unit of energy. For example, if 1 cryptocurrency unit is set to be equivalent to 1 kWh, the provider interface module 131 may receive a capped total amount of cryptocurrency of 800 for a month to spend on purchasing 800 kWh of electricity.

Furthermore, regarding the specific cryptocurrency, the patent explains that it may be Bitcoin, an altcoin, or a derivative of Bitcoin, or any other digital currency. Additionally, it says that the devices on the system can share funds between each other if a device surpasses its portion of cryptocurrency, bearing in mind the end goal is to guarantee it continues operating during the billing period. The blockchain-based system will also show which device consumes more energy. Similarly, the network can help each other if one device uses less energy than the other. The rest of the volume can be conveyed through different networks, or it can be customized to sell the excess cryptocurrency or hold it for the following billing.

The patent states that the utilization of the cryptocurrency may be operated independently of a central database system, such as a central bank, a central management system, or central authority operated by the energy provider.

Application for Numerous Patents

Walmart has applied for different patents to incorporate blockchain technology into its supply chain cycles, similar to a service that would record a client’s buys in a blockchain record, enabling the client to sell the items on a sales platform using the record of purchase. The “Smart Package” patent of Walmart utilizes a blockchain-based apparatus to track package contents, location, environmental conditions and other details. The retail giant is also working to get suppliers to put their food provenance on blockchain to reduce food wastage and enhance transparency.

Do you think integration of blockchain technology into Walmart’s operations will help the retail giant cement its position in the market? Share your views with us in the comments section.

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